The most and least consistent Rays hitters in 2017, Part I
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds
While it may not seem like it (August really felt like a drag), the Rays have been relatively consistent as a team in 2017. They peaked at seven games above .500 and have never been more than five games below .500. Their longest win streak was just four games and their longest losing streak just five games. Their best month was four games over .500 and their worst month was (well, actually, is) three games under .500.
For a season as long as the MLB season, it’s kind of crazy to not have a win or loss streak longer than five games. In fact, the Rays are one of only two teams in 2017 without a win or loss streak longer than five games (Padres).
That being said, the team is clearly not going to get steady, reliable, consistent production from their hitters and pitchers all season. In fact, the Rays biggest issue in 2017 has seemed to be the offense going missing once the pitching turned it around in the second half. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more all-over-the-place hitters from the 2017 season in part one of this series.
Dickerson and Ramos have been quite similar in 2017, albeit their timing has been altogether different, acting as offensive bookends on the long season. Dickerson started off scorching hot, while Ramos has really picked up the pace as the season has gone on.
Dickerson was one of the best hitters in baseball for the first few months. He hit .330 in April, .349 in May, and looked like a potential batting title contender. He was one of only two players in baseball (Zack Cosart being the other, incredibly enough) to hit at least .330 in each of the first two months of the season. Dickerson wasn’t just hitting for average, though. He hit six home runs and had 15 extra base hits in April before improving on that total with 16 extra base hits in May.
Of course, like a flamed-out, prep-school jock, it all went downhill from there. Dickerson has seen his average and power numbers drop off monthly, and the result is one of the most depressing charts in recent Rays history:
Now to make you happy again:
Ramos has the exact opposite pattern going on with his production, and while Dickerson’s falling off sadly makes sense (pitchers beginning to punish him for his willingness to go out of the strike zone), Ramos’ success (thankfully) also makes sense. Ramos was working his way off an extended DL stint early in his 2017 season, and he was still adjusting to a new team. His production this month (.340/.353/.620), while almost certainly a bit above his head, is a great sign for the Rays backstop moving forward. For both Dickerson and Ramos, I’m weighing more recent results heavier than their early-season results, which of course is both good and bad news for the Rays.
Souza is still having an excellent overall season, but his production has noticeably dipped in recent months. His wRC+ is 90 in the second half compared to 135 in the first half. In September, his wRC+ has plummeted all the way to 20. This is after posting multiple months with a wRC+ over 150 in the first half of the season. In fact, his wRC+ was over 100 for each of the first four months of the season and has been under 100 each of the two past months.
He’s still been the Rays most valuable position player overall in 2017, and with 30 home runs, 16 steals, and 155 RuBIns, it’s not as if he has fallen short of any realistic expectations. But it’s hard not to imagine what might have been if Souza had swapped out, say, his July productivity for September instead. Might have made for a more interesting stretch run. (Of course, they also might have been further out of the picture if he hadn’t been so red hot earlier in the season.)
Hech has been all over the map even in his short time as a Ray. After killing it his first week with the Rays, he went on to post a .177/.198/.203 slash line in July that equated to a wRC+ of 3 in July and made fans everywhere wonder if they themselves might be able to post a similar slash line just by getting hit with a few pitches here and there.
However, August was much kinder, as he raised his average to .239, but more importantly found a bit of pop, with four home runs and ten extra base hits in 92 plate appearances. September has seen his OBP jump to .342 and his wRC+ of 117 is downright enticing for 2017. Of course, it’s important to remember that July swoon when looking ahead.
That’s it for the all-over-the-place Rays hitters. We’ll be back later this week to look at the “Normal Baseball-season-is-long Fluctuations” and “Kings of Consistency” batters for the Rays this season.
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